Friday, February 21, 2003

A READER RESPONDS TO 'A POP QUIZ ON THE FRENCH'

A READER RESPONDS TO 'A POP QUIZ ON THE FRENCH'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Mark Ledbetter's letter is a bunch of rubbish. Much of his "history" is not factual. He says, for instance that a Frenchman defeated the English in 1066. The fact is that William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, was Scandanavian, not French. Though illegitimate, he was directly descended from the group of Norsemen led by Rollo, who sailed up the Seine in Year 911, and forced the French king to cede French territory on the coast. The Normans, as they became known, progressively expanded their territory, becoming a dominant military power on the continent. It was from this historical base that William defeated English forces under Harold Godwinson, and became King of England. Ledbetter says the U.S. fought the Korean War alone. Absolutely not true! The U. S. went into Korea only after the United Nations resolution condemning North Korean aggression, and authorizing sending armed forces into Korea, under the UN banner. The UN Command, Korea, included military forces from Great Britain, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, to mention only a few, and included the very substantial Army of the Republic of Korea (aka South Korea.) Ledbetter's "opinion" that the U.S. produced no military genius of the order of Napoleon is insupportable. Several of our military leaders through history have shown far more "genius" than Napoleon: George S. Patton, Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson, are considered by many military historians to be far superior to Napoleon as military tacticians and strategists. Measured by success, certainly Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur can lay claim to greater military genius than Napoleon. After all, they never met their Waterloo, now did they? Regarding Ledbetter's denigration of the overwhelming role of the United States in defeating the Axis armies in two hemispheres in World War II, he is truly "full of poppy cock." Were it not for our intervention and participation both before and after Pearl Harbor, it is highly unlikely that the other armies of Ledbetter's "coalition of Russia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and France" could have been so successful against the far more modern and highly developed war machines of Nazi Germany and Emperial Japan. I could go on point-by-point to challenge Ledbetter's rather unpatriotic put down of the United States of America. I think the above examples lay an adequate groundwork to indict all of Ledbetter's arguments as unsupported by historical documentation. Even more, I could destroy his affected glorification of France as America's protector, savior, and friend. To be truthful, the French have never forgiven us that our Revolution was so much more successful than theirs. Finally, I am a longtime (50 years), loyal Democrat. Furthermore, I do not like our current President or his policies. However, I will always put my Country before partisan politics. Ledbetter's letter seems to trash our Nation solely to promote his presumed personal opposition to military action against Iraq. David M. Ginsberg, Ph.D. Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)

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